Be the voice of the voiceless-A A +A
Bahin sang Bubay
Friday, October 25, 2013
ARE campus writers doomed to be caught within the confines of what institutions dictated for them to do, as many among our colleagues back in our time, found themselves to be...
As an active member of the campus press during my time who had been with the so-called “fearless purveyors of truth” in our own little way, I have seen the changes and have come to understand. Because you see, for me, considering the “objective conditions” that are confronting the campus press today and the challenges that have become gargantuan in essence, one can no longer say the role of the campus press has remained as is, but that it has also transformed into a more potent tool in the pursuit of the truth in this most distracted world we are living in.
While the socio-political issues in today’s time have turned from “bad” to worst as expected, there is no denying that the campus scribes have also evolved through time. My question is: Has the youth of today been able to live up to the challenges posed not by the old socio-political and cultural issues or the status quo that has persisted up to the present time, but by the convoluted atmosphere in campuses where all the distractions that multinational interest offer are made available with ease at the youngsters’ finger tips?
I must say, being a campus writer in this day and age is more daunting than it was when there was only the simple telephone and typewriter at our disposal. With all the ease of technology at their beck and call it would seem doubly hard to churn out a few sentences for a simple news story than it was during our time, I guess.
Consider this scenario: a student scribe tagging along those tiny, attention-grabbing but amazing gadgets in tow that can easily open the whole vista of the world with just one press of a key as in an iPad, may not be able to write a few simple sentences at all.
Sometimes, I would find myself in the same situation. The moment that I would start opening my hardware to write my piece with the topic in my head, I would start to think of opening my email first to see if I have some important messages there. With that simple decision and like a piece of pie, my attention is starting to get chipped off.
Then, after seeing my inbox and opening some messages there, I would become addled and engaged, and inevitably, the little chip from my attention would then become bite-size, increasing at each click of the button. If I have enough strength of spirit left after a few minutes of entertaining a bit of temptation, I would then attempt to finally face the ?blank page?, the so-called writer’s block (which used to be our convenient excuse for not producing our article right on time on a piece of paper, back then..).
And that’s where the struggle within the writer begins, the clash between the virtual angel and the devil would then manifest.
One cannot but be drawn into another kind of battle, finally losing grip of what must be done..., what is essential.
Back to that question that we ask ourselves, what then is our role as campus writers?
Here are some things that we were told we were supposed to be, back then...:
* “torch bearer”
* Catalysts of change
* Zealous advocate for what is good and just
There are many other roles that if listed, will probably turn away “writer-wannabes” or those mesmerized by that title “journalist”.
But I say here, that we may have a long list of roles but only one responsibility to carry as we pursue our aspirations for our people.
We have the responsibility to be the voice for the voiceless. Simply that... And when you start asking yourselves who these “voiceless people” are in our society that is where you become aware how huge this responsibility is.
Who are they, by the way?
They are the little innocent children trapped in armed conflict, who are misled and stalked by hunger not of their parents’ doing, but by State policies that do not respect their constitutional rights;
These are the countless women and girl-child who are victims of sexual abuse in this overly patriarchal society that we have;
These are the ordinary workers in industries, constructions and in big and all corporations, whose small but skilful hands are able to make big things, nay huge wonders such as big structural edifices that we see around and marvel at, but who are receiving a pittance as “salaries” or payment for all their efforts, and sometimes denied of benefits;
These are the poor peasants or farmers in the countryside, whose toil on the land that he/she tills (that is not his own) to plant our staple food so that the country can eat and be nourished are never acknowledged, and are not given the support they needed;
These are the living heroes of our time, the OFWs, the TEACHERS, the FISHERFOLKS, the ordinary citizens eking a living in the underground economy, those who have no choice but continue to exist no matter if their living conditions are so appalling, or if they have to claw their way to survival...
This is simply the campus writers’ role for them to be the voice for those whose silence speaks aloud, naghuhumiyaw, nagsusumigaw...
(This is my speech on the Role of the Campus Press during the CEGP-Mindanao congress held in Davao City from October 23-25, 2013)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 26, 2013.